Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Portsmouth 1 - 2 Liverpool
(FA Cup 4th Round)

Riise scored a fantastic goal

Liverpool are through to the next round of the FA Cup, having sent off a valiant Portsmouth's side at Fratton Park, beating the Pompeys by 2 - 1.

It was certainly a scrappy match, we didn't keep enough possession of the ball. Rafael Benitez made three changes to the side that lost at Manchester United last week, Jan Kromkamp made his first starting line-up for the premiership. Fernando Morientes returned to partner Djibril in attack and Stephen Warnock started at left-back with John Arne Riise moving to left midfield. I thought Kromkamp made a decent debut & he seems to be communicating well with his mates on field.

Both sides struggled to make any progress & the breakthrough came in the 36th min, when Dejan Stefanovic - Portsmouth captain handled the ball & the referee gave the penalty, favouring Liverpool. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, 1 - 0 to the Anfield side. 5 mins later, Riise made a bursting run down the left & scored a wonderful invidualistic goal with his left foot. The scoreline read 2 -0 at half-time, favouring Liverpool.

Davies pulled one back for the Pompeys in the 2nd half, they ploughed along, looking for the equaliser; trying to force a replay back at Anfield. Liverpool's defence took the blows & managed to send the Portsmouth out of the FA Cup.

We now face Man Utd in the 5th round, bring it on, I say. The display we showed at Old Trafford the week before goes to show we certainly have what it takes to overcome Man Utd. We are still in the running for the title of the FA Cup, Champions League and possibly the winners of the Premiership. There are still many things to play for, many more games to play.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The LEGEND is Back!!

Fowler Returns to Anfield

Robbie Fowler made a sensational return to Anfield on a free transfer from Man City. The return was just unbelieveable, I almost couldn't believe the news on Liverpool's official website when i first saw it.

Fowler was a legend, as highly regarded as GOD in Anfield & Rafa managed to snap him up for free. As Man City's manager Pearce put it - "Liverpool are his dream club and he wanted to leave and rejoin them. If I refused him this opportunity of fulfilling his ambition it would not be good for him or Manchester City. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his efforts."

I can't wait to see him in the red shirt once again, he's not going to play in the FA Cup, hopefully he will make a brief appearance against Birmingham City or Chelsea.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Man Utd 1 - 0 Liverpool

Missed..missed...missed !!!

That sums up our anguish during the match with Man Utd.

We controlled & marshalled the midfield, we played and defended well for 90 mins. A decision from Mike Ridley; to give a freekick against Finnan gave Man Utd the lifeline. Rio Ferdinard out-jumped everyone to head home the winner in injury time.

It was most frustrating to see Pool missing so many scoring opportunities, we had a couple of really good chances to take the lead & secure the 3 points; but we missed them all. To be fair to Man Utd, they were missing a number of key players. Scholes, Smith and Ronaldo missed the big game owing to injuries or suspension.

I do not like to point fingers, but Cisse's misses in front of goal were so evident that it's hard not to notice. He seems to be lacking the striker's instinct and effective on-field communication with his strike partner. There were instances where Crouch & the others tried holding on to the ball, sending a perfect cross to Cisse; but to only see the chance wasted. Cisse's mind and actions just weren't co-ordinated with the rest of the Pool team.

We may have lost the game, but I truly believe that we were the better team at Old Trafford on Sunday. Old Trafford has always been a difficult place for Liverpool to go, but Liverpool went to Old Trafford looking more like winners than the home team. Pool's back four were more than impressive, they literally shut out Ruud van Nistelrooy; he had only 1 notable shot at goal, which was saved by Reina. Our midfield was far more superior than that of Man Utd. Gerrard, Sissoko & Alonso should be proud of themselves.

A defeat against Man Utd is certainly hard to swallow. But, Liverpool must pull themselves together, there is still so much for the team to play for. We still have the Champions League to contend with, we are still in contention to be European Champions for the 6th time. There is always possibility that we would pop the champagne in May & showcase the trophy on the open-top bus once again.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Riise to Stay at Anfield till 2009

Riise signs new contract

The 25-year-old Norwegian, an influential player of the team which won the Champions League final last summer; has signed a new contract at Liverpool which will keep him at the club until 2009. Riise can play in several positions and is certainly a player worth keeping.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Liverpool 1 - 0 Tottenham

Harry's Back !!

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Harry Kewell.
His 59th min goal against Spurs revived the respect I have for him when he was at Leeds.

We made good progress on the league table, with Man Utd dropping points against Man City in the derby. We are now just 1 point away from the Old Trafford outfit & have 2 games in hand. Chelsea remains elusive, unless they start losing games. I seriously believe that the title is already theirs.

Morientes returned from injury to start with Peter Crouch in front. Nando had a couple of chances to put Liverpool ahead in the 1st half, the efforts were foiled by Spurs' keeper - Paul Robinson. Spurs had it worse in the closing stages, Paul Stalteri saw red for a foul on Kewell late into the game. I didn't think the red card was justified, at most a yellow card. Referee Dermot Gallagher just made the wrong judgement.

The next 3 games could be make-or-break for Liverpool. They travel to Old Trafford next Sunday to take on Man Utd, followed by another tough match at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on 05/02, and yet another against the Gunners on 14/02.

If we can win all 3 games or at least get decent results against the trio, game on. We could possibly challenge Chelsea for that coveted top spot on the league table.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Signings in the Jan Transfer Window

Jan Kromkamp and Daniel Agger

Liverpool secured the services of both Kromkamp & Agger during the January transfer window. 2 promising signings, I must say.

The 25-year-old Dutchman - Kromkamp came to Anfield, with Josemi heading the opposite direction to Spain. Agger was signed for a fee of 5.8 million pounds, he was on Rafa's list during the end-season transfer deadline, but the deal fell through.

Kromkamp & Agger will definitely strengthen our defence, that would grant Rafa the ease of squad rotation with more players vying for first-team action. We have a long season and many games to play.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Luton 3 - 5 Liverpool
(FA CUP 3rd Round)

Alonso Scored 2 Fantastic Goals

Just when we thought Liverpool would be ousted from the FA Cup 3rd round competition again by a minmow team, we came back from 3 - 1 down to make it 3 - 5. Magnificent.

Liverpool was certainly outclassed by Luton for the first 45 mins, they made a series of fatal errors & even conceding a penalty. But Pool came back strong in the 2nd half & brought about a revival, after Sinama come on to the field. With all due respect, Luton was great. They outclassed the Champions League winners for the first 45 mins.

It's worrying to watch Liverpool having to come back from behind to defeat the opposition. It was like that the week before with Bolton, it's the same scenario with Luton. Liverpool gotta be consistent within both halfs to ensure a win comfortably, instead of having to slug it out with the opposition late into the game.

Great game, great entertainment. Xabi Alonso gotta be the best signing of Rafael Benitez so far.

Road Trip to Malacca

Along the way to Malacca

Hwee Lee and I were on a road trip to Malacca yesterday. She drove, I can't drive. I felt so bad for her, having to drive almost 6 hours - to and fro. But there was no way I could have helped her.

Hwee Lee asked me to meet her at Aljunied as early as 0700hrs! That'e even earlier than me waking up to get to work on weekdays! However, going into M'sia earlier has its advantages. We were able to breeze through the Tuas checkpoint as it was still early & the officers were unusually very friendly this early in the morning.

Ho Kee & the famed chicken rice balls

That's what we woke up so early for, CHICKEN RICE BALLS.

We had chicken rice balls TWICE, but at different places. The meal we had at Ho Kee was fantabulous. I would always go back there for the delicious chicken & the incredible rice balls. The fragance of the rice balls stays in your mouth for as long as I can remember.

Hwee Lee, when are we going there again?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bolton 2 - 2 Liverpool

Gerrard & Garcia salvaged a point from Bolton

Liverpool's run of 10 wins in the league came to an end on Monday, they were held to a 2-2 draw by Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

Rafa Benitez made a number of changes to rest the tired players during the hectic schedule over the x'mas & new year period. He rested Alonso, Riise and Cisse; on came Didi, Sinama and Traore.

The side wasn't playing as well in the first half, there were a couple of near misses from Bolton & Reina let in a goal in the 9th min. A laspe of concentration allowed Radhi Jaidi to score the 1st goal of the game. Skipper Gerrard pulled 1 back from the penalty spot in the 66th min when he was brought down by Joey O'Brien in the box. Ex-Anfield misfit El-Hadji Diouf put Bolton ahead again in the 71st min. Garcia put Liverpool on level terms with a goal in the 82nd minute, that was a huge relief, I thought we were gonna lose.

Sam Allardyce was whining after the game, insisting that Gerrard had intentionally stepped on Kevin Nolan during the match. Nolan clarified afterwards that it was purely an accident & he certainly see no venom in Gerrard's action. The Big Sam gonna get his facts right before shooting off his mouth to the media. Damn.

We dropped 2 points, makes it more difficult to catch the ever-winning Chelsea (they won again, 3 - 1 against WHU).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Liverpool 1 - 0 West Brom

Scorching Hot Crouch

Another win, another 3 points, another goal by Crouch!!
Liverpool makes it a perfect 10, ten wins out of ten; what a feat!!

Baggies' keeper - Tomasz Kuszczak must have had the game of his life. The scoreline would have read differently if not for Kuszczak's fantastic goalkeeping efforts. Crouch headed in his 7th of this season in the 52nd minute, brillant cross from Kewell.

The hectic schedule over the x'mas & new year period is trying, glad that Pool are still getting the desirable results. But it sux so much that Chelsea aren't dropping points, it's gonna be impossible to catch them now; if they keep on winning.